Myth-Folklore Unit: Aesop's Fables (English)

Overview. This reading unit gives you another chance to experience the very popular tradition of Aesop's fables. The fables in this unit are in both prose and verse, coming from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries! The 17th-century fables are by Sir Roger L'Estrange, whose monumental collection of Aesop's fables — Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists — is the biggest and best book of Aesop's fables in English. From the 18th century, there are the fables of the Roman poet Phaedrus translated into rhyming English couplets by Christopher Smart. From the 19th-century, there are more verse fables from Sir Brooke Boothby and James Davies. There are also many illustrations which in turn come from many different sources. If you like to read out loud, this would be a wonderful unit to choose: poetry always sounds good when read out loud, and L'Estrange's hilarious, hyperbolic English prose is as good as poetry for reading aloud!

Language. L'Estrange's 17th-century prose is very old-fashioned but it is also very fun to read out loud. The verse fables by Davies, Smart and Boothby all have rhyme, which makes them fun to read out loud too.

Story Length. Most of the fables are quite short, with several fables on a single page, grouped by the type of animal.

Navigation. You will find the table of contents below, and you can also use this link to see the story posts displayed on two pages total: Aesop's Fables (English). Click "Older Posts" at the bottom of that page to see the second page.

Additional Resources. There is an Aesop Index page for all the fables in the various Aesop units in this course, and you can use this link to see the four different Aesop units listed on a single page. If you would like to see all 600 of the fables that are part of the Greek and Roman Aesop tradition, you can find a listing at

  1. The Gods (Davies)
  2. More Gods (Smart)
  3. Fables about People (Boothby)
  4. More Fables about People (L'Estrange)
  5. Apes (L'Estrange)
  6. Foxes (Smart)
  7. More Foxes (L'Estrange)
  8. Lions (Boothby)
  9. A Lion and a Man (L'Estrange)
  10. Lions and Asses (Smart)
  11. Asses (Boothby)
  12. More Asses (L'Estrange)
  1. Wolves (Smart)
  2. More Wolves (L'Estrange)
  3. Dogs (Smart)
  4. More Dogs (Boothby)
  5. Yet More Dogs (L'Estrange)
  6. Cats and Weasels (Smart)
  7. Birds (Smart)
  8. More Birds (Boothby)
  9. Yet More Birds (L'Estrange)
  10. Insects (Smart)
  11. Insects, Fishes, and Frogs (Boothby)
  12. More Frogs (Smart)